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Would you have caught these Globe and Mail slip-ups of 2017? Try our quiz

Public editor Sylvia Stead revisits the errors Globe readers flagged for us this year, from the obvious to the obscure

A reader in London, Ont., wrote to me to say there really shouldn't be corrections – because all information should be checked before publication. "Doesn't anybody proofread stories any more before a paper is printed? … To misspell a person's name (Smyth instead of Smith, or other examples) I can see, BUT to use the wrong name or figures, etc., is surely unacceptable. How does one know if the story they read is correct? As Trump likes to say, it is "fake news" (which of course it isn't, just maybe some incorrect info)."

He is right: There are too many errors in The Globe and Mail, because any error is one too many – and our goal is perfection. But, honestly, that is not realistic. There are about 40 to 50 errors a month in The Globe, despite all efforts to check and double-check facts. If it helps to know: Reporters are usually mortified about such errors, and want to see them corrected as quickly as possible.

Mistakes happen, in some cases, because reporters are filing quickly, on deadline, and editors are dealing with new and varied subjects, and many stories, also on deadline. Some errors are caused by a misunderstanding, confusion, or even a simple brain freeze.

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So I thought I would offer a small quiz. Inspired by the hundreds of corrections we printed this year, it includes some of our most obvious mistakes, and a few trickier-to-spot ones: 17 fact-related things you would need to tackle quickly as an editor. Use your intuition and knowledge. And good luck.

1 A February story said that, by 2030, the average price of a detached house in Vancouver was predicted to be:
a. $2-million
b. $4.4-million
c. $6.6-million

Answer: B is correct. Story said A.

2 Banff is in:
a. Alberta
b. British Columbia
c. Saskatchewan

Answer: A is correct. Story said B.

3 The U.S. official K.T. McFarland is:
a. a woman
b. a man

Answer: A is correct. Story said B.

4 The global health-care industry is worth an estimated:
a. $8.4-million
b. $8.4-billion
c. $8.4-trillion

Answer: C is correct. Story said B.

5 In the 2011 NHL postseason, the Nashville Predators defeated which team to advance?
a. the San Jose Sharks
b. the Anaheim Ducks
c. the Montreal Canadiens

Answer: B is correct. Story said A.

6 A British Columbia law is called:
a. the Wills Variation Act
b. the Wills, Estates and Succession Act
c. the Wills and Estates Act

Answer: B is correct. Story said A.

7 The Nashville Predators have a rookie player named:
a. Frédérick Gaudreau
b. Frederick Gauthier
c. Frédérick Gaston

Answer: A is correct. Story said B.

8 The nation of Qatar has:
a. 300,000 people
b. 300,000 citizens
c. 2.5 million citizens

Answer: B is correct. Story said A.

9 Parliament Hill is in:
a. Ottawa
b. Toronto
c. Prince George

Answer: Yes, really, and on Canada Day. A is correct. Story said B.

10 The combined measles, mumps, rubella vaccine has been available since:
a. 1953
b. 1965
c. 1975

Answer: C is correct. Story said A.

11 The Seaforth Highlanders are based in:
a. Seaforth, Ont.
b. Toronto
c. Vancouver

Answer: C is correct. Story said B.

12 Jerry Sandusky is a former coach of:
a. Penn State basketball
b. Penn State football
c. Penn State volleyball

Answer: B is correct. Story said A.

13 The federal Liberals had what size majority after the 2015 election?
a. 15 seats
b. 16 seats
c. 17 seats

Answer: A is correct. Story said B.

14 Who said this? “Who you gonna believe – me or your own eyes?”
a. Chico Marx
b. Groucho Marx
c. Chico dressed as Groucho

Answer: C is correct, but you get a point for A too. Story said B.

15 Monarch butterflies travel:
a. north in the fall
b. south in the fall
c. north in the winter

Answer: B is correct. Graphic said A.

16 A sentence reading “Perhaps it was Mrs. Trump who persuaded her husband to be on his best behaviour,” was changed to include Mrs. Trump’s first name, which is:
a. Ivana
b. Ivanka
c. Melania

Answer: C is correct. Story said B.

17 The Halifax explosion was the largest human-made explosion before:
a. the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan
b. the plutonium bomb test in New Mexico
c. the second bomb dropped on Japan

Answer: B is correct. Story said A.

Are you smarter than a Globe and Mail editor?

Answer all of the questions to see your result
If you got them all right without checking, you are an amazing font of knowledge – just like many of our regular readers who catch these errors. (Thank you.)
You have a great eye for detail.
We all make mistakes.


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